New Jersey defines shoplifting as taking any merchandise from a store or merchant with the intent to deprive the merchant of the proceeds for that item. Shoplifting does not just include stealing something from a store or merchant, but mislabeling items with the intent to get them for less than their retail value or switching products into different containers or packaging with the same intent.
Shoplifting can be a serious crime of the second degree or a simple disorderly persons offense depending on the value of the merchandise.
How New Jersey classifies shoplifting
The consequences for shoplifting can vary greatly. If the value of the merchandise is at least $75,000, it is an automatic second degree crime and can carry significant prison time. If the theft was part of an organized plan to commit retail theft, the merchandise only has to be $1,000 to make it a second degree crime.
If the stolen merchandise was between $500 and $75,000 then it would constitute a third degree crime. It would also be a third degree crime if the defendant participated in an organized plan to steal anything worth less than $1,000.
Any shoplifting involving merchandise between $200 and $500 is a fourth degree offense, and any shoplifting involving merchandise worth $200 or less would constitute a disorderly persons offense.
How New Jersey classifies crimes
New Jersey classifies its crimes into four levels: First (the most serious), second, third, and fourth degree crimes. To be a crime, the violation must require a minimum of six months jail time. The state considers infractions that would have a lower sentence or a minimal fine disorderly persons offenses and not a crime.